Since January there have been more than 17,000 recorded attempts by migrants to board UK-bound trucks and trains at the port and Eurotunnel in Calais.
This official figure by the France’s interior ministry demonstrates that the demolition and closure of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais last October has failed in its attempt to stem the flow of migrants to northern France.
The space which was once home to more than 10,000 has now been reclaimed by nature.
Thick shrubbery covers what was once a waterlogged and muddy encampment.
Next to the old Jungle, under a bridge carrying trucks to the port, one of the few reminders of the camp has yet to be cleaned from the concrete.
‘London Calling’, the graffiti says. Beside it is an image of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
It is said to be one of Banksy’s murals. It’s certainly a political statement: a reminder that Steve Jobs was the American son of a Syrian immigrant.
Beyond the graffiti, up the road towards town, you begin to spot them. The migrants haven’t all gone; they have just moved into the woods where they quite literally live like animals.
The numbers are not the same as they were a year ago, but nor are they as small as the French government might like to wish.
At the weekend, the French interior minister, Gerard Collomb, said that there were “about 350 in Calais”. He is wrong.
It is clear from spending the past four days here that the number is much closer to the estimate by volunteers, who put the figure at near 1,000.
It’s hard to know for sure how many are here because they are engaged in a constant game of cat-and-mouse with the police.
“Tom and Jerry!” an eight-year-old Eritrean boy shouts at me when he spots the phone in my hand.
He is sitting with a five-year-old girl and her mother who tells me the group have been in the Calais area for over a year.
They are in a minority. Most here are young men, many teenagers, who arrived in the last few months.
I had played a cartoon on the phone to his friend the previous day. He’d remembered and now wanted to watch one too. Tom and Jerry was his choice. The police watched on in the distance.
The sole objective of the authorities here in Calais is to prevent a new camp from taking hold. And so, almost every night, they disrupt the migrants; sweeps of the woods are common.
Tents are already forbidden but tarpaulin and sleeping bags are cleared. Migrants are told, in a language they often don’t understand, to move on.
A recent Human Rights Watch report backs up allegations by migrants and volunteers that the CRS riot police are using brutal methods to disperse the new arrivals.
Though I have not seen evidence of it, I have heard the same allegations every day here: that officers are beating the migrants with batons, firing pepper spray in their faces at close range and smashing their phones.
There is only one focus for their day: food.
Volunteers are permitted to provide a hot meal for the migrants twice a day.
And so, under the buzz of the electricity pylons near the old Jungle camp, they gather at noon and again at 6pm.
When the volunteers’ battered old vans (these are grass-roots organisations not long-established charities) pull up, they run to be at the front of the queue.
Among them is Osman Hotkhil from Afghanistan.
He tells me he is a former commando in the Afghan army and has been in Europe for two years, legitimately trying to claim asylum in Germany.
His predicament neatly sums up the problems for almost everyone here: “I speak German very well and I went there. And after two years they told me ‘your asylum has been rejected, you can go to another country.'”
He can’t legally go to another country though – because like most here he stands little chance of asylum anywhere in Europe now that one country has already registered and rejected him.
EU regulations state that all asylum seekers must lodge their asylum claim in the first EU country they enter – for almost all, that’s Greece or Italy.
And so, Osman and everyone else here knows that if they formally register with the French authorities and begin the two-year asylum claim in France, they are likely to be rejected and deported.
Even if they want to stay in France, they know their chances are slim.
As I finish talking to Osman, another Afghan approaches.
“I want to talk to you and tell you my story,” he says. He’s young; a teenager, no doubt.
“My name is Khalid Shah. I am 16,” he tells me.
He claims his mother is dead and his father is an Afghan-born British citizen living in London.
“My father, he is in England. He is British,” he says.
“He want to support me here, legally. But I wanted to take a lawyer here but it doesn’t work.
“That is why I came here now to Calais and try (the) trucks. But the people here, the police, say it’s not legal. We don’t have a future here but the UK government don’t understand.
“Why didn’t they take underage boys from here to the UK?” Khalid says.
Is he telling the truth? At this moment as I talk to him, I can’t be sure. But the point is, there’s no one official here listening to him; assessing him.
Around the corner, a lorry pulls up at the petrol station. Suddenly the food is less of a priority. The migrants run towards the truck. It’s broad daylight.
As some climb the back, others look for hiding places underneath. The diver seems unfazed; he’s used to it. It happens all the time.
It doesn’t take long for the police to arrive. We film as they detain one young man.
The officers hold canisters of gas but we see no evidence of police brutality. The incident is short lived and the migrants return to their food.
This reckless desperation is a daily occurrence and too frequently ends in tragedy.
On Thursday night, a young Eritrean man was killed falling from a lorry. He had boarded it, assuming it was going to the UK.
He jumped when he realised it was heading the other way, to Belgium, and was hit by a passing car.
The following evening in a park in central Calais, a group of Eritreans gathered with some volunteers to remember their friend. The police watched on from a distance.
Since 2015 more than 40 migrants and one Polish truck driver have been killed in these incidents. Numbered graves in the north cemetery in Calais are the only physical reminder of the loss.
Back at the camp, another migrant agrees to talk to me but wants his identity protected. His family, back in Afghanistan, would be ashamed of his situation if they saw him, he explains.
He says he has lived in the UK twice before but was deported both times. He says he doesn’t know why they expelled him but he’s back again for a third attempt at a life in Britain.
“Why not in UK? We like it there. We can speak English, we can live our life better. So why not UK? I guarantee after one month, or two months, I will be there. If they kick me out, I will try again. I don’t care.”
I ask what he was doing in the UK. Was he working?
“Of course. When you are living somewhere you have to work to eat. Or should I sit there with government benefits to eat? No, I don’t like that,” he says.
As with everyone’s story, it’s extremely hard to know if he is telling the truth.
Calais is a natural focus for Britain. But it is just a snapshot. It’s the same at borders across the continent: move them on; hope they become someone else’s problem.
This week another attempt is being made by the French authorities to clear the migrants from around Calais and take them to processing centres.
Some will go; some will hide. Many of those who do go will eventually return to Calais to join new arrivals who are travelling right now, north from southern Europe.
Whatever your politics, this is a perpetual mess with plenty of suffering at its heart.